Sony PDX10 or Canon XM2 for Airshows? at

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Old April 26th, 2005, 05:23 AM   #1
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Sony PDX10 or Canon XM2 for Airshows?

Hi All,

I'm very keen to replace my trusty old Sony TRV20E with a 3CCD optical stabilized mini-dv cam. Considering usage will generally be pointing the camera at generally dark fast moving aircraft against a very bright sunny sky, does anyone have any opinions on one of these two cams for suitability? I've always found getting detail off the aircraft in these lighing conditions difficult with my TRV20E.

I'm really stuck, the PDX10 seems like an impressive machine, but I've read some confusing comments on the PDX10 not performing well against bright high contrast backgrounds which makes me concerned about airshow applications. The 12x zoom would probably be adequate for handheld usage.

The XM2 seems to be a winner in every almost category except 16:9. That lovely 20x zoom would be fantastic for tight closeups of distant aircraft (although handheld at 20x on a fast moving aircraft would be a challenge -- perhaps impossible?). The lack of anamorphic 16:9 support is the real killer for me, all my TV's at home are 16:9.

As much as I'd love the XM2 (I'm a Canon DSLR man), I'm tending towards the PDX10. Can someone with bright high contrast outdoor experience with either of these cams give me their opinion. I've tried them both extensively in the shop. Please Canon, bring on the XM3.. if it exists at all. Any other cams I should be consider in the 2000 area that have great zoom and anamorphic 16:9 and are reasonably compact.
Anthony Hicks
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Old April 26th, 2005, 06:46 AM   #2
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If you're really set on 16:9, then the PDX10 is definately a top contender -- that's one of the primary reasons I bought one. I haven't actually tried to video airplanes with it, but I have shot some stuff from low angles that happend to fill the entire background with sky. I haven't had any problems with contrast....but I have had Vertical Smear problems if the sun is in/near the framing.

Also, if you think you'd have problems with handheld 20x zoom, you'll honestly probably have problems with 12x as well. It's difficult to control at that zoom range, optical image stablization or not.

If you prefer the XM2, have you considered purchasing it AND an anamorphic lens in order to get the desired 16:9 you want?
Duane Smith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 26th, 2005, 07:40 AM   #3
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That's a tough one. Of course the combination of XM2 and anamorphic lens is going to be a lot bigger and heavier than a PDX10. If you shoot directly towards the sun you will no doubt get some smear on the PDX10, but the 16:9 will work really well in this sort of a bright environment.

Is the FX1 beyond your budget? This might be the best of both worlds. The XL2 would also be nice.

Is it impossible to use a tripod for this sort of thing? You certainly would get much better results. In 16:9 mode at max zoom the PDX10 has a focal length equivalent to 500mm in 35mm terms. Add the Sony high grade 2x telephoto lens and you will get really nice shots with a 35mm equivalent of 1000mm.

If at all possible, see if you can borrow or rent a PDX10 and give it a try. You really can't beat it when it comes to bang for the buck these days.
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